TORONTO — Canada's health regulator on Wednesday approved Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine.
Health Canada posted on it is website that the vaccine made by U.S. drugmaker Pfizer and Germany's BioNTech is authorized.
"Canadians can feel confident that the review process was rigorous and that we have strong monitoring systems in place. Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada will closely monitor the safety of the vaccine once it is on the market and will not hesitate to take action if any safety concerns are identified," Health Canada said in a statement.
Canada is set to receive up to 249,000 doses this month and 4 million doses of the vaccine by March..
The department said the vaccine is for use in people 16 years of age or older, but noted Pfizer-BioNTech are running further clinical trials on children of all age groups and that could change.
The vaccine already has been approved by the United Kingdom and officials have said they expect U.S. approval within days.
Canada has purchased 20 million doses of that vaccine, which requires people to receive two doses each, and it has the option to buy 56 million more.
Health Canada is reviewing three other vaccine candidates, including one from Moderna.
"This is phenomenal news for all Canadians as we take the next step toward ending this pandemic. As soon as vaccines arrive on Ontario soil, we will be ready to deliver and administer them," Ontario Premier Doug Ford said in a tweet.